Kansas USD 383: Keith B Miller

| 125 Comments

To Dr. Shannon and members of the USD 383 School Board:

I am here to express my strong support for the resolution being put forward by well over 100 science faculty and staff at Kansas State University. I speak as a geologist., educator, parent and committed Christian. I have also been closely involved in the Kansas science standards issue since 1999.

The Kansas science standards document recently passed by a majority of the Kansas Board of Education was not the document recommended by the science standards revision committee appointed to that task. Furthermore, the standards document has been rejected by virtually every scientific and educational organization in the state. Why is that?

Firstly, the fundamental assumption that drove the writing of the document, and that is expressed in its text, is that evolutionary science, and the very methodology of science itself, is based on an atheistic worldview. Thus the authors of the document believe that the conclusions of modem science must be balanced by a theistic alternative. But such a portrayal of science is completely and utterly false, and has the very damaging effect of putting science and faith in conflict. How can we justify teaching our children that the discoveries of science must be viewed as threat to faith? Students should be encouraged to embrace the excitement of discovery, not fear it. Science is a very limited way of knowing and is restricted to addressing the operation of natural processes. I believe that the processes described by science are upheld and directed continually by the creative action of God. But that conclusion is beyond the power of science. Science has no power to prove, or disprove, the existence or action of God.

Secondly, the recently passed standards present a completely false view of the nature of historical science (such as evolutionary biology, paleontology, geology, cosmology, anthropology) as essentially speculative and not subject to empirical test. This is often expressed in statements like “It is only a theory.” As a geologist whose research is in Earth history, historical theories are continually tested against predictions of future observations. Theories that are not successfully predictive are rejected or modified. To teach students that our reconstructions can be dismissed as untestable speculation is to teach them a false view of science.

Lastly, the document contains numerous errors and misrepresentations of current science. The critiques of evolution that were inserted into the standards are simply invalid. There are many exciting questions that remain for science and many interesting debates, but these are not the issues that the standards address. Rather, they include repeatedly refuted arguments from the creationist and Intelligent Design literature. If teachers used the standards as a basis for curriculum. they would end up teaching not balanced science, but bad science.

However, local school boards need not be adversely impacted by the standards just approved. The state standards are not mandated - local districts remain fully in control of their curriculum and teaching. Furthermore, the standards currently being used are excellent ones and provide a strong foundation for K-12 science education. Also, the appointed state science standards revision committee whose work has been rejected by the state! BOE continues to meet and work. That Committee includes some of the best science teachers and science educators in the state and nation, and they have pledged to complete their work on the standards. That document will be an excellent basis for guiding science curriculum and teaching. It will ensure that our students have the best science education, accurately knowing both the nature and content of modem science. It will also ensure that our students perform well on assessment tests, and are well-prepared to continue their education at the best institutions in the nation.

In conclusion, I urge the board to approve the resolution and safeguard the quality science education that residents and parents of the district have come to expect and value.

Most sincerely, Keith B. Miller

125 Comments

the conclusions of modem science must be balanced by a theistic alternative.

I personally find broadband science more satisfying when answering questions re the FSM. The slower modem version of science, erstwhile useful, doesn’t get us the evidence of His Noodly Appendage nearly so quickly as I have come to demand

Science has no power to prove, or disprove, the existence or action of God.

This statement is too broad. Science certainly has the power to prove or disprove claimed interventions in the natural world by various gods (or, if you prefer, various versions of God). For example, a worldwide Noachic flood is considered disproven by all who are competent in geology.

t.f. Wrote:

The slower modem version of science, erstwhile useful…

erstwhile useful?? Do you mean it’s no longer useful?

Wamba,

Refuting specific, empirical claims that humans believe to be the work of God does nothing to prove or disprove any existence or action of God.

It just disproves a specific human idea about what God may or may not have directly intervened in, should he/she/it exist (or not). It is probably also worthwhile to point out that science could only determine if there was a flood or not; there would be no ability to attribute any supernatural agency to the flood.

Not Just that Wamba (any and all past so-called divine interventions in the natural world are by scientific implication false)

But what he is saying of course, by implication, is *insert favorite deity* does NOT occur in the natural universe and is therefore restricted to human thinking (and thus ego projection) about something un-natural which of course can only be anything outside of existence, that is to say not existing.

What DOES exist is pride and fear that a belief received as a child from respected elders may NOT be true, that is something that not only questions their trust in those who transferred the idea but their entire grip on reality.

If they want to use their imagination that way and not impose their views…no problem.

It’s about the best you can expect from dreamers. Cue replay of Behe’s testimony.

Oh…plus of course they don’t want to be called creationists …intellectual honesty and all that.

Now here is the coup de gras a Creationist Funday DOES ACTUALLY have Intellectual Honesty as a key plank in their persona …the mask they wear when addressing the outside world…Provided they believe as objective fact .….romantic folk tales.

One local Kansas school district down, 5 1 1 more to go. Not the best way of addressing this mess.

Refuting specific, empirical claims that humans believe to be the work of God does nothing to prove or disprove any existence or action of God.

It just disproves a specific human idea about what God may or may not have directly intervened in, should he/she/it exist (or not).

You forgot “/they”.

This appears to be a shell game. You say the God who may exist did not cause a global Noachian flood. I say that the God who caused a global Noachian flood does not exist. You are smuggling in the concept of monotheism, which I don’t care to do.

How can we justify teaching our children that the discoveries of science must be viewed as threat to faith?

BY claiming that events in the bible are literally and factually true and accurate. If they are then science needs to prove that these events happened the way the bible says but those atheistic minions of the dark lord who profess to be scientists keep creating fictitious lies perpetuated by the liberal atheistic press. It is up to us, the bearers of the flame lighting the way for the one true god of whom we shall not worship false idols and for whom we shall convert by words or by sword all the living inhabitants of this place called a planet by lying brimstone sucking scientists, it is up to us to smite this smear on the good name of our lord that we can enter heaven with a better place in line when the rapture comes, and make no mistake, it will come. So do not be fooled by these evil claims by these people who with their sulfurous words and diabolical machines falsely claim to have “proved” that the Earth is a measurable quantity and that there is no room for heaven in space, that humans are merely animals and that we “evolved” from heinous creatures who fling dung at gentle patrons of local zoos, eat lice from each others bodies, masturbate publicly and speak in an infernal tongue, that our land, separated from the sea by the almighty God who destroys wicked cities in his grace, actually moves about on this thing they have called a “Planet”.

Join the movement to stop these vicious lies and together we will put God’s holy and immutable truth, written in the King James Bible where it belongs, at the pinnacle of the altar of science.

It is probably also worthwhile to point out that science could only determine if there was a flood or not; there would be no ability to attribute any supernatural agency to the flood.

Not even this. Science can only determine whether or not a *natural* flood occurred. Not a magical flood. If someone wishes to claim that a magical flood happened worldwide but God engineered it so that nobody elsewhere in the world noticed, and the geological effects of the flood evaporated when no longer needed, how can science say otherwise? Science is only capable of addressing certain mistaken notions of how God did it.

Allayluyah Brother BWE Pass The Loot

and now for a hymn

All Things Dull And Ugly. All Things Dull And Ugly - Monty Python All things dull and ugly, All creatures short and squat, All things rude and nasty, The Lord God made the lot. Each little snake that poisons, Each little wasp that stings, He made their brutish venom, He made their horrid wings. All things sick and cancerous, All evil great and small, All things foul and dangerous, The Lord God made them all. Each nasty little hornet, Each beastly little squid, Who made the spikey urchin, Who made the sharks, He did. All things scabbed and ulcerous, All pox both great and small, Putrid, foul and gangrenous, The Lord God made them all. AMEN.

Wamba:

This appears to be a shell game. You say the God who may exist did not cause a global Noachian flood. I say that the God who caused a global Noachian flood does not exist.

I do not believe this example expresses what you want it to. The only thing being called into question would be Noah’s Flood. There is still no way to prove or disprove that God(s) did or did not have a hand in creating (or not creating) a flood.

I’m perfectly happy to have people believe whatever they want to about supernatural entities…I have a problem when they speak definitively about their own personal beliefs as being true for all reference frames. I tend to group people who demonstrably claim to have disproved god right along with those who claim to have demonstrably proved the existence of god…leave it alone already.

I do agree with your statement about some claims of supernatural action being falsified. The flood, among other things, can certainly be tested…this is not the same thing as testing for the supernatural cause of a thing. That particular claim should be left to the IDiots.

Science is only capable of addressing certain mistaken notions of how God did it people interpreted history and then wrote about it.

This appears to be a shell game. You say the God who may exist did not cause a global Noachian flood. I say that the God who caused a global Noachian flood does not exist. You are smuggling in the concept of monotheism, which I don’t care to do.

No. You are wrong.

I’m not smuggling in any concept. None of these are my personal beliefs. I’m referencing monotheism because it is contextually relevant, owing to the fact that the majority of evolution opponents in the US are monotheistic christian fundamentalists. There are definitely people who are overtly attempting to insert monotheism (much less smuggle it), and thus, it must be addressed.

My point, however, is that there is NO supernatural concept which is necessarily attached to science, monotheistic or otherwise. It has precisely nothing to say about supernatural causation in any way, shape, or form.

If there was a flood, science couldn’t prove God caused it. If there wasn’t a flood, science couldn’t prove God failed to cause it. We just know whether there was an empirically observable flood or not. End of story.

You can insert whatever religious beliefs you want (or not) on top of that, but at that point it is not science. That is my point.

“I tend to group people who demonstrably claim to have disproved god right along with those who claim to have demonstrably proved the existence of god…leave it alone already.”

Not only that, but isn’t “faith” a central tenet for any religion? Faith necessarily implies a lack of proof. If you get proof, you’re not believing based on faith at all, you’re believing based on evidence; that’s rationality, not faith.

That’s another reason ID is inherently flawed - if it ever does produce scientific evidence of a designer, by the definition of science the designer ceases to be supernatural…you wouldn’t need faith to acknowledge the existence of the designer, just rationality.

Those who need proof to believe are devoid of faith. Wasn’t that the lesson of the “doubting Thomas” episode in the Bible?

Bah Science is only capable of addressing certain mistaken notions of how God did it people interpreted history or made observations and then wrote about it.

Belief (which is purely subjective) about an event in history is dependent on the cultural influences on the observer and are irrelevant if no objective evidence can be provided.

Hypothesis:- All natural events are the result explainable processes using the scientific method and if they are not, will be, by more advanced technology or new theories -none of which will be outside of the natural universe.

Prediction: All currently unexplained natural events that invoke an unnatural cause will gradually diminish to nil. That is to say anything “un-natural” will become natural.

Believers in the “little boy who owns an ant farm” will need to keep moving the truly imaginary further from reality.…and look how far that “imaginary” has had to travel over the centuries.…or become a Fundy.

No. You are wrong.…If there wasn’t a flood, science couldn’t prove God failed to cause it. … End of story.

And a strange story it was.

Very strange indeed - Man who thought God is a circular reasoner.

Very strange indeed - Man who thought God is a circular reasoner.

What are you referring to here?

AD …Projection .…remember ?

Or do I have to wait until the end of the universe to see a proof that

If there wasn’t a flood, science an independent observer or observers couldn’t prove see God failed to cause it.

Ah …The Sargent Shultz school of empirical evidence gathering perhaps.

Explosive logic is dangerous in the hands of the inexperienced.

I prefer obviously ridiculous statements to be told in the context of humor.

I think you may have done this before no offense, I may be guilty of not engaging my brain before posting as well.

I’d tend to agree with AD. There is no way to disprove the existence of God. I personally tend to take the lack of positive evidence in his/her/its/their favour as implying a lack of existence, but that’s a philosophical position. All you can say scientifically is that the hypothesis that God’s existence is unnecessary for the world we see to exist is a very well-tested hypothesis. Make of that what you will.

Oh, also…

Monty Python Wrote:

Each beastly little squid,

Those blasphemers are going to be first to be eaten when Cthulhu rises, dammit!

We are back to the old GOTG ideology,do the Idiots really want to open up their poor old deity to scientific scrutiny. If you say that proof of your God can be shown by a particular unexplained phenomenon, you’re going to be in trouble when science gets round to examining and explaining that phenomenon. Does your God vanish or die, or just scuttle over to the next gap. Science cannot explain THIS, they cry, That is sure proof of God’s existence and cleverness. Look what we’ve found, they shout, the only possible explanation is our God (as defined in this chapter or verse, of this particular translation of the Bible). How could anyone possibly argue with such damning evidence?!? Yet the bulldozer of science grinds forward, pushing heaps of fresh knowledge and understanding into the hidey-holes where gods are to be found. Someday, most of the important gaps will be closed, and those remaining believers will have to fall back on good old ignorance, denial or old-fashioned faith

I could really do this couldn’t I? Expect to see me on the fundy channel soon.

“Because, if you truly believe. I mean truly believe in the word of God through Jesus Christ our lord and savior, you will help us in this fight for our very souls. That’s right, this war is for nothing less than our souls! So avoid the temptation of our race who have fallen for the golden goose of Beelzebub and write that check. Your contribution will help our ministry to wipe the abomination of science off the map. Your donation will help us declare WAR ON EVIL!

Some of you may not be able to contribute very much to our cause. You may be among those that our lord has blessed with material wealth, but if you can just send fifty dollars or one hundred dollars, you can rest assured that This ministry will carry on the war on evil and work tirelessly and diligently to expose science for what is is- A ministry of evil, shepherded by the crook of Satan at the altar of human sacrifice and blood lust.

Some of you have been blessed with monetary wealth by our lord and savior Jesus Christ. If this is you, prove that you believe by sending as much as you can afford. If you can afford one thousand dollars, send it now. Go to your phone right this instant and make your pledge to fight evil. Jesus is watching and he knows that you have given in his name. Your gift will be recorded in St. Peter’s logbook and you will enjoy a preeminent place in heaven as you have on earth.

In the name of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, let us pray for the money to wage this war.

k.e.

You’ve totally lost me, man.

If there wasn’t a flood, /science/ an independent observer or observers couldn’t /prove/ see God failed to cause it.

Changing the words in that manner destroys the context and value of the original statement. An independent observer could certainly act outside of the methodological naturalism proscribed by the scientific method and draw inferences about a supernatural being.

However, they wouldn’t be performing science when doing it. If you eliminate the context of the original statement, you destroy the inherent meaning that I was trying to express.

I think what I may be guilty of is communicating poorly, but you certainly seem to be pulling something (and to be fair, I have zero idea what) out of my statement that’s not there.

What, precisely, is humorous, explosive, or otherwise unusual about the statement that science cannot, in any meaningful way, address a supernatural cause?

I’d tend to agree with AD. There is no way to disprove the existence of God.

Right, but you’ve conveniently excised the word that was under debate.

Right, but you’ve conveniently excised the word that was under debate.

Which was what, specifically?

AD, k.e. tends to write “outside the box”. I used to have the same problem understanding but after reading a few dozen posts, it does begin to make sense. I may have damaged my brain seeking altered states in the 60’s and 70’s but I do think I understand.

Projection .…remember ? Or do I have to wait until the end of the universe to see a proof that if there wasn’t a flood, an independent observer or observers couldn’t see God failed to cause it.

A fundy point of view would claim that at the end of time, all things would be known. k.e. is pointing out that what might become known is that they were wrong. Which is ironic because if they were wrong then nothing would be known at the end of time.

k.e. Did you spend a fair amount of time seeking altered states of consciousness too?

Corkscrew

Yes there is and always be plenty of gaps left for whatever deity a man desires and wants everyone one else to fear, the obvious question then, is what is that deities morality (or more precisely the believing group’s projection) if it appears to be amoral?

Quite convenient really.

The more right wing (and strangely social Darwinist) literal readers of the so called “One True Word of God TM” actually believe decease and birth deformities etc etc are physical manifestations of “One True (male and presumably white unworldly and protestant) God TM” imposed as a test of their Faith.

What a day. I wake up to discover that the local public radio station has launched its Spring fundraising drive, then link to PT to learn that BWE is a televangelist-in-training.

I am sincerely sorry that so many of you are blinded by the stubbornness of refusing to be responsible to anyone for your actions here on this earth. It is a very depressing thing to see so many people who will believe any theory, lie, or fairy tale that comes their way. It seems a waste to live a life believing what you know is a lie, just so you can do as you please and ignore that you will have to one day answer for everything you have done, to the One who you have ignored all of your life.

Is that Parody a.k.?

Not parody, projection.

a.k., You don’t have to be sorry for me. I like it this way. I’m taking up heliocentrism next. It should be fun. So go run off and worry about your eternal soul while I enjoy the ride to hell in my bucket, ok?

a.k. Wrote:

I am sincerely sorry that so many of you are blinded by the stubbornness of refusing to be responsible to anyone for your actions here on this earth. It is a very depressing thing to see so many people who will believe any theory, lie, or fairy tale that comes their way. It seems a waste to live a life believing what you know is a lie, just so you can do as you please and ignore that you will have to one day answer for everything you have done, to the One who you have ignored all of your life.

Ya srsly! Those crazy nuts will believe all sorts of stupid fairy tales and lies. Talking snakes, a woman popping out of a guy’s rib, a dude living inside a whale, wtf? So depressing.

Am I rite??

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on March 1, 2006 3:01 AM.

Kansas USD 383: 38 Nobel laureates was the previous entry in this blog.

Aaaannnnddd…it’s live! is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Categories

Archives

Author Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.381

Site Meter